1. Difficulty setting and/or maintaining personal boundaries.
Maintaining personal boundaries is essential to healthy relationships, but it can be difficult in enmeshed mother-daughter relationships because of the non-stop involvement of the mother. Both parties should agree on reasonable limits and expectations, such as how much the daughter can share with her mother and how much help she is able and willing to accept from her.
2. Intense emotional reactions when the daughter expresses opinions or feelings that differ from the mother’s.
Enmeshed relationships tend to be heavily one-sided, with only one person’s opinion held in high regard. If the daughter dares to speak up about something she disagrees with, a reaction of anger, hurt or rejection may follow. It is important for both parties to feel comfortable expressing their own thoughts and feelings without fear of disapproval or invalidation.
3. A lack of physical space between the two individuals when they are together.
Enmeshed mother-daughters often have difficulty being physically apart from each other, even if it’s just in a room. This can be interpreted as a sign of an unhealthy closeness between the two and could be alleviated by setting boundaries on how much physical contact is needed or appropriate.
4. Disproportionate level of responsibility taken on by either parent to provide support, guidance or care for their child.
Enmeshed relationships often lack balance in terms of who takes on more responsibility within the relationship. The mother may feel obligated to provide overly diligent care for her daughter’s needs, while the daughter may feel suffocated and not given enough space or trust to make her own decisions. It’s important for both parties to recognize when one person is taking on too much and adjust accordingly.
5. Unhealthy reliance on one another for emotional support, comfort and validation.
In enmeshed mother-daughter relationships, both parties can become too reliant on each other for emotions. The daughter may expect her mother to validate all of her feelings, while the mother may not be able to cope with any disagreement or criticism from her daughter. It’s important for both people in the relationship to recognize that relying solely on one person is not healthy and look outside of their own relationship for emotional support.
6. An inability to identify individual identities outside of the relationship with each other.
Enmeshed relationships often involve difficulty distinguishing between “me” and “you” in terms of identity. Both individuals in the relationship may feel as if they are part of one unified unit, which can put a strain on their personal growth and development. In order to successfully break out of enmeshment, each party needs to be able to clearly define their individual identity and roles in the relationship.
7. Overprotective behavior towards one another hinders independence and growth.
Enmeshed relationships tend to involve an excessive amount of protection from one another. This could manifest itself in various ways, such as over-controlling or wanting too much involvement in decision-making. Both parties should strive for a balance between protecting each other while also providing enough space for independence and personal growth.
8. Co-dependency in decision-making processes.
In enmeshed mother-daughter relationships, both parties may feel like they need to consult the other in order to make any decisions. This can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed or stuck and could lead the daughter to rely on her mother’s opinion instead of forming her own. In order for the relationship to move forward, each party must learn how to think and act independently while still allowing room for collaboration and support.
9. Expectations of complete loyalty over any other relationships in life.
Enmeshed relationships often involve expectations of complete loyalty and devotion from one another. This can lead to feelings of resentment or guilt if either party fails to meet those standards. It’s important for both parties to recognize that outside relationships are a healthy part of life and should be encouraged. The daughter should be allowed to have her own friends, hobbies, and interests without fear of retribution from the mother.
10. Personal free will is superseded by what is expected within this enmeshed dynamic.
Enmeshed mother-daughter relationships can lead to a situation where the daughter’s own will and desires are overshadowed by what is expected of her within this dynamic. This could mean that she feels obligated or guilty for wanting something different than what her mother wants, or that she is not allowed to express her true feelings in fear of being judged or punished. It’s important for both parties to recognize that everyone has their own free will and should be able to make their own decisions without feeling like they are letting anyone down.